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Obasanjo identifies unemployment as responsible for rising banditry, kidnapping in Nigeria



Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has identified unemployment as the major reason for the rising spate of criminal activities like banditry and kidnapping in Nigeria.

OBJ who raised the alarm while delivering a keynote address at the 9th International Trade Exhibition & Conference on Agrofood, Plastics, Printing, and Packaging held in Lagos on Tuesday, said the growing activities of bandits and kidnappers in the country would be reduced if government can provide employment opportunities for its teeming unemployed youths.

“Of course, if we are able to achieve this, it will improve our security. Part of our insecurity are men and women that are not properly engaged,” the former president said.

“If we are able to give them employment, there will be less of them getting involved in banditry, in kidnapping and in doing various other criminal activities that they get involved in,” OBJ noted.

Obasanjo who also spoke on food security, stated that there was need to “promote agribusiness for food security, nutrition security, employment, wealth creation, poverty elimination and income generation, particularly, foreign exchange” since the drive toward food security in the country must encapsulate food availability, affordability and accessibility.

“Food security starts with availability. We must be able to produce enough. Then there is affordability. We must be able to get everybody who needs food to be able to get the food that they need. Then there is accessibility. We must get food to where it is needed.

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“Almost 40 per cent of our food go to waste after cultivation. So, food security and nutrition security makes agribusiness important.”

Obasanjo further noted that one of the most potent means of curbing youth emigration, unemployment and insecurity is to get more young people to embrace agriculture, while regretting that Nigerian youths often prefer to explore opportunities in the entertainment industry, which underscores the need to make agriculture more glamorous.

“First is employment, with our teeming population and the problem we have with our youths going over the desert and risking their lives at the Mediterranean will stop. What can we do to give them enough employment at home?

“The area that is sure to provide employment for our teeming youth population is agriculture. When you talk about agriculture, not many of them will want to come to the farm, they will rather go into the music that they do now.

“We have to make agriculture glamorous because these youths, they make money that way (through music), and then you are asking them to come to the farm. They won’t want to,” he emphasized.

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